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Thread: My mistake Low BHN casting session

  1. #1

    My mistake Low BHN casting session

    Well I cast a bunch of .429 and .357 boolits without verifying the lead I bought. As it turns out the lead was not as stated and these tested about a 7BHN on my LBT hardness tester. I am usually more careful but in a rush to get some loaded I did not check the BHN number first. I loaded up 100 rounds with a 4.5g Unique in a 357 case for a 38 special type plinking load. I was wondering if I can shoot these up or will I end up with a leading mess or worse? I usually load the 429 for 44mag at 44 special power levels. I have about 1000 total that I cast and boy do I feel foolish. Not sure if I can use these at all or just melt them down and start again.
    Also I guess I will need to get some antimony to bring this up to about a 12 or so, which is what I like to shoot. I may have a little wheel weights lead left, about how much per 20lb pot to bring me up to this level?
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    You should be OK. I'd put them down range and see if they lead your barrels. I'm guessing you'll be OK if they are sized good.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Bullets need to "age" a bit till they come to final hardness after cast. Usually a couple weeks is good.

    COWW's are about 10-12 bhn. If your bullets are 7 then add 2-3% Sb. Just try to imitate COWW's with 2% Sn added. That puts you at 12.

    Personally I'd drop my powder charge on the 7 bhn bullets and make it a learning experience. If it looks like it ain't gonna work they will melt a second time. Or is that 3rd, 4th, or ? time.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy ACC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by solman View Post
    Well I cast a bunch of .429 and .357 boolits without verifying the lead I bought. As it turns out the lead was not as stated and these tested about a 7BHN on my LBT hardness tester. I am usually more careful but in a rush to get some loaded I did not check the BHN number first. I loaded up 100 rounds with a 4.5g Unique in a 357 case for a 38 special type plinking load. I was wondering if I can shoot these up or will I end up with a leading mess or worse? I usually load the 429 for 44mag at 44 special power levels. I have about 1000 total that I cast and boy do I feel foolish. Not sure if I can use these at all or just melt them down and start again.
    Also I guess I will need to get some antimony to bring this up to about a 12 or so, which is what I like to shoot. I may have a little wheel weights lead left, about how much per 20lb pot to bring me up to this level?
    Thanks
    Those would be great for hunting as a soft cast bullet will expand and not just be a cast FMJ. My pistol hunting boolits I am trying to keep around 8 to 9. That's why I ask the questions I ask.

    My rifle boolits, my brother kept around 16 or harder.

    ACC

  5. #5
    Boolit Master gnostic's Avatar
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    I'd try reheating and quench in cold water. As long as they're big enough, they'll probably not lead the barrel.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Dan Cash's Avatar
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    If they are not too small and you have lubed them with a decent lube they will work fine.
    To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, the trouble with many shooting experts is not that they're ignorant; its just that they know so much that isn't so.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    Nothing a Chore Boy can't fix. I say shoot them. You might be surprised. Lot of members shoot 8-9 bhn range scrap For lower velocity loads. What are you using for lube? How do your throats/grove measure up? Just check your bore every few cylinders full to make sure nothing bad is going on. Groups turning to patterns is a sign it it time to clean...

  8. #8
    Boolit Master bigboredad's Avatar
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    I'd wait a couple weeks and see what they come up to or cook them for a hour at 400 degrees and drop them in some cold water. That's just what I would do. The ones you've already loaded I would think should be a great combo. Imho good luck

    Sent from my SM-T377V using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Do they fit your gun? For a 44 Magnum revolver, .429" is probably too small. I don't water quench my cast bullets and IIRC, pure lead will not harden when water dropped...
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Most seem to think that with handguns...hardness is king . But you know what ...it ain't !

    If the boolits fit , shoot em... I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised . Fit and a decent boolit lube is much more important than BHN in the double digits . Took me a few decades to learn this and get over the harder is better nonsense ...read Elmer Keith , you will be shocked to see how soft a boolit he used in the 44 magnum . Check out " Sixgun Cartridges & Loads" by Elmer Keith (Amazon reprints available $13.95) worth every cent for the wisdom .

    Powder coating , in place of conventional lube , should also help with any leading . I don't powder coat but I have discovered softer boolits are better in my handguns. I had the hardness thing wrong for many years .

    Choot some and see how they do , I'm betting you will like them .
    Gary
    Last edited by gwpercle; 01-12-2020 at 12:55 PM.
    Certified Cajun
    Proud Member of The Basket of Deplorables

  11. #11
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    For the velocity you are shooting, no problem.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  12. #12
    Thanks for the many responses. All are on the money.
    I shot these earlier today and to my surprise there was no leading. Accuracy was as good as I can do with handgun offhand anyway.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy mehavey's Avatar
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    4.5g Unique in a 357 case for a 38 special type
    As you saw, moderate load/soft bullet no problemmo.
    In fact, slightly undersize bullets need to be soft... and seal/shoot extremely well

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by solman View Post
    Not sure if I can use these at all or just melt them down and start again.
    Shoot 'em.

    Don't make extra work for yourself---- plenty of other people are more than glad to do that for ya.

    Now say a few Hail Marys, a couple anna-godda-da-vedas, go forth, and sin no more.
    Everyone can learn from their mistakes.
    However; it's less painful, and cheaper to learn from the mistakes of others.

    Old age and treachery will always overcome youth, and skill.

    OK folks. Enough of this idle chit chat. This ain't no retirement home.
    EVERYONE!!
    Back to your oars. The Captain wants to waterski.

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by solman View Post
    Thanks for the many responses. All are on the money.
    I shot these earlier today and to my surprise there was no leading. Accuracy was as good as I can do with handgun offhand anyway.
    See...Old Elmer Keith did have some good advice about Boolit hardness .
    Gary
    Certified Cajun
    Proud Member of The Basket of Deplorables

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by solman View Post
    Thanks for the many responses. All are on the money.
    I shot these earlier today and to my surprise there was no leading. Accuracy was as good as I can do with handgun offhand anyway.
    Glad to hear you tried them. It feels good to have some success doesn't it. Also, I bet you learned something about hardness/softness and low pressure 35 caliber shooting.

    I'm not sure if you are aware, Commercial bullet companies like Hornaday, Swage (instead of cast) 358 Waddcutters using pure lead. I've loaded thousands of these, and shot them with great success.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.”
    ― The Dalai Lama, Seattle Times, May 2001

  17. #17
    Yes indeed this was a learning experience for me. Since I shoot mild loads generally it seems unnecessary to sweat getting the BHN up to 11-12 which is what I generally do.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonB_in_Glencoe View Post
    Glad to hear you tried them. It feels good to have some success doesn't it. Also, I bet you learned something about hardness/softness and low pressure 35 caliber shooting.

    I'm not sure if you are aware, Commercial bullet companies like Hornaday, Swage (instead of cast) 358 Waddcutters using pure lead. I've loaded thousands of these, and shot them with great success.
    This is one of my main reasons to start shooting 38 Special. I just got my first 38 at 56 years.

    WW is hard to find, lino is harder. I have a good stash but I hate to see it going. Now, almost pure lead range scrap is still widely available here, it makes great wadcutters for 38 Special at 5-6 BHN.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    I have used range lead for years in low/moderate handgun loads with no problems. A good lube and proper fit are all they seem to need.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Forrest r's Avatar
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    Glad it worked out for you.

    99% of shooting since the 80's has been with free range/berm lead. I make #100 batches at a time with it and it's typically 8/9bhn air cooled and 12/13bhn water dropped. Shot countless 1000's of cast bullets in several different calibers using conventional lubes and a lyman 450 sizer.

    I've had leading issues in the beginning from time to time. Took awhile and a learning curve (still learning) for me to really appreciate and understand how lucky I am to have such a useful alloy.

    Several years ago I did switch over to pc'ing my cast bullets. Had nothing to do with leading or pushing a soft alloyed bullet harder/faster. I was interested in pc'ing bullets to keep the firearms cleaner/less fouling with extended periods of range time. A revolver after a 200round range session
    [IMG][/IMG]

    A 1911/9mm bbl after a 500+ round range session. Took 1 patch with hope's #9 and 1 dry patch to clean.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    Back when I 1st started casting in the 80's I used the nra 50/50 lube. While it was a great lube I would have to stop shooting and wipe the firearms & hands down along with punching out the cylinder and semi-auto bbl.'s with the high round count range sessions.

    Glad you're low bhn alloy worked out for you. Hopefully you do more testing with it.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check